What a lovely season we're mired in.
My predictions at the beginning of the season are...well, they're basically shot. Not completely, but the team basically needs to play .673 ball to meet what I called in February. Yikes.
A few shining beacons have come out of the rough, though. Mike Trout is NOT sophomore slumping. Mark Trumbo is NOT letting his OBP divebomb--yet. Robert Coello is our newest fun reliever and may have earned his keep in the bullpen when Madson returns. Jerome Williams is coming out of nowhere to be the second-best pitcher we have, second only to...no, not Jered Weaver, but Jason Vargas!
Safe to say, the first third of the season hasn't been great, but it's not like we have NOTHING interesting to watch.
I'll put these projections into groups here: the starting lineup, the bench, the rotation and the bullpen. Just for safety's sake, I'm projecting Williams back to the bullpen over Blanton. Here they are:
Aside from Pujols and Hamilton, our lineup DOES look decent. Iannetta finishes with more walks than hits, Trout puts up a 6-WAR season, Trumbo finally holds himself up in the second half...all in all, doing alright. Go figure that Pujols and Hamilton aren't the sub-replacement guys in the lineup...and wait a minute. The future batting champion bats .300?!
I called Shuck to be a solid bench addition before the season began. I love occasionally getting something right. Conger comes decently into his own, enough to keep Hester in AAA. Harris and Nelson...meh. They're no Maicer Izturis, whom I miss dearly.
Jason Vargas, current AL Pitcher of the Month, may unseat the Dream Weaver as winner of the Nick Adenhart Award, if not for simply being healthier. A 5.2 WAR pitching job is sure to make retaining Vargas more expensive, but could it be worth it? Weaver steadies himself nicely after his injury, Wilson is respectable, Hanson is consistent, and BLAHnton is just...ugh. Give him the WTO treatment.
Jerome Williams?! NICE! Best season of his career, maybe we extend him? Moving him to the bullpen WILL actually be smarter; his 1.98 ERA out of the pen is better than his 3.08 in the rotation (although both are welcome). And Robert Coello, PLEASE stay! If they demote this guy when Madson comes back, I'll slap the lasagna stains off of Scioscia's fat face. Frieri and Madson both do well for themselves, Downs has a sweet contract year, and Richards and Jepsen fall to earth. And oh, I wish Burnett wouldn't get injured...he's just so...so...GOOD...and oh yeah, DDLR may come in too many times, but he ends respectably.
Discuss, argue, doubt, do as you will with them--but there will be one more update (at about the 2/3rds mark) and then a review at the end of the season.
Interesting to note--according to WAR our team will end up 41 wins above replacement, which, going by Baseball Reference's standards, would have us winning 92 games. So why won't that reflect in our record?